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Netflix and Sam Mendes support new SOLT and UK Theatre fund to help theatre workers

The new fund will help those who cannot make a living through the pandemic

Sam Mendes
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

A new fund has been set up to help theatre workers who have been unable to support themselves through the pandemic, spearheaded by award-winning director Sam Mendes.

According to organisers Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the scheme aims to help "those who have been ineligible for Government aid and have not been able to work since theatres closed on 16th March due to Covid-19."

The fund will see small grants for practitioners "with nowhere else to turn". It will be aided by a £500k donations from Netflix, with each grant being £1000. Fund applicants must have worked in theatre between 31 March 2020 and the beginning of last year.

Mendes said: "Thousands of theatre professionals in the UK are struggling. Many of them haven't been able to get help from the existing Government schemes, and the situation continues to worsen. They need help now.

"We have created a fund to which the most vulnerable freelance theatre practitioners can now apply. It is specifically designed for theatre workers who find themselves at breaking point, for those unable to put food on the table or to pay bills, or for those considering leaving the profession altogether."

Anne Mensah, vice president, original series at Netflix, said: "British theatre is a vital cultural force, not least because so many emerging talents and original ideas begin life on the stage. Creativity is all about collaboration, and we are deeply concerned by the challenges our friends in the theatre now face, especially in the regions, and the likely consequences for the diverse voices and stories at the heart of our culture."

You can find out more here.

The news comes just as the UK government unveils a massive support package totally £1.5bn to help the arts sector weather the pandemic.